High school sports, a rallying point for athletes, coaches and fans, shut down in Connecticut March 10 because of COVID-19.
The remainder of the winter season, which at that point was state tournaments, was canceled. There were hopes that at least some of the spring season could be salvaged, but that too had to be canceled.
Now, just about four months later, some Xavier athletes will return for conditioning with CIAC- and school-mandated guidelines.
Stage 1 in the return starts July 6 for football, soccer and cross country with cohorts of 5-10 athletes working out together voluntarily a maximum of three times per week for 60 minutes per session. The activities are geared toward physical reconditioning and individual skill development.
There is on-line registration, which serves a dual purpose. Xavier must divide the athletes into cohorts, and they will stay in those groups, so the school needs to know how many athletes are participating. Part of the registration process requires answering COVID-19 questions.
The summer conditioning registration link is here. Registration will close July 2 so athletes can be assigned to cohorts.
“When March happened, all of our instruction on the fields, rinks, wherever it might have been, stopped,” Athletic Director Matt Martorelli said. “We were able to work with spring athletes remotely, but it is not the same as face-to-face interaction. The social and emotional piece was lacking. The aerobic activity hasn’t been there for these kids.
“Having the ability to engage in a safe manner, following the guidelines put forth by Gov. Lamont and the CIAC, we’re able to put a plan in place to re-acclimate kids to athletics before the start of the next season.
“We’ll watch out for overuse injury … they haven’t done much activity and to think they can come back and pick up where they left off would be irresponsible of us. We will do it the right way to ease the kids back into athletics.”
Social distancing (6 feet away from each other) must remain in place at all times. There can be no physical contact, including high-fives or fist bumps.
All activities will take place outside at Xavier; the only people allowed are the athletes, coaches and medical staff. The locker room and weight room inside the building cannot be used.
All must self-screen; upon arrival at Xavier coaches must confirm self-screening by all participants.
Face coverings will be worn by all coaches during workouts. Athletes must wear them when they arrive and leave workouts, and they also must wear them when they are not engaging in vigorous activity. Artificial noisemakers must be used instead of whistles.
There also are various mandated hygiene protocols, such as no sharing of water bottles or equipment including such things as towels, and the washing of hands frequently with sanitizer.